ach week, we present an influential woman whose career and style has inspired the Silkarmour team to aim higher and dress better. This week’s Silkarmour woman is actress and activist, Salma Hayek.
As Hollywood learned the hard way, Salma Hayek is first and foremost, her own woman. Being an actress can be difficult enough, what with unequal pay and continuous type casting. But a Mexican woman who thinks “feminism should be a reflex” and refuses to victim-blame those who have experienced domestic violence isn’t an equation many production companies were willing to to work with. A net-worth of $85million later, it’s safe to say it was their loss.
Hayek became a household name after starring in the lead role of the 2002 biopic Frida; but unlike the common equation of the 'break-out' star in Tinseltown, she actually created the role herself, having felt a sense of responsibility to ensure one of Mexico’s most famous artists was portrayed accurately. Before approaching Miramax to produce the film, she secured the rights to the remaining pieces of art left by Kahlo after the benefactor died and assembled a preliminary cast in 1998, going as far as turning up backstage to Alfred Molina’s Broadway production of ‘Art’, asking if he would play the role of Diego Rivera. Hayek later told the press that her passion for the project stemmed from the need to mirror Kahlo’s “courage” and her ability to “live her life exactly as she wanted to” despite the many physical limitations she had and controversies she faced. Nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA for playing Kahlo, 'Frida' was the catalyst for Hayek's additional role behind the camera, serving as executive producer for the Emmy-winning American sit-com, Ugly Betty and earning herself an Emmy for her guest-starring role along the way.
Shop the look: Cathalus Fit & Flair dress by Rose & Willard | Rebus Tailored Jacket by Rose & Willard | Grey Python Envelope Clutch by ALLEGRA LONDON | Black CZ Drop Earrings by ORA | Genoir Tote by AEVHA LONDON
Unsurprisingly, Hayek is equally committed to her ventures off screen, especially her involvement in humanitarian causes. An activist since she was 17, she has widely been involved in field-work with UNICEF, The Red Cross and most notably, her role as an Avon Foundation Ambassador since 2004, in which she opened up the first Spanish-speaking domestic abuse hotline. What Hayek is keen to raise awareness of is how often abuse is inflicted "in a way where we're confused about whether it's abuse or not”, leaving the vulnerable victims almost completely unaware of the severity of their situation. For her more recent partnership with Gucci as part of the international relief effort, Chime for Change, Hayek spoke of the universal nature of domestic abuse, in that “not every country in the world has a problem with hunger, but every place in the world has a problem with domestic violence”
In an industry that values personal appearance over intelligent conversation, Hayek's unfiltered approach to her duo-quality career is a breath of fresh air. From defying traditional standards of beauty for an Oscar-nominated role to shutting down a slew of hate mail received when she breastfed a starving baby in the middle of war-torn Sierra Leone, Hayek is as unfiltered as she is determined in making a change in both film and philanthropy. Even Donald Trump has not gone unscathed, receiving a suitable tongue-lashing on multiple occasions with Hayek very publically branding his policies nothing more than “a very simple tactic for self-promotion.” The mic-drop moment came however when Trump stumbled on an essential speech remembering the victims of “7/11”, confusing one of the biggest acts of terrorism on US soil with the name of a chain convenience store. Whilst news outlets whipped up a storm, Hayek took a bite out of the carcass with relish; simply tweeting to her 116,000 followers, “I am a dyslexic Mexican and English is my second language, however even I do not confuse 7/11 with 9/11.” Trump, exit stage left.
Career Golden Nuggets
- Know your value: People often say that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.
- Retain your integrity: People always underestimate me. But if you stick around long enough, act out of conviction, and try to be honourable in everything you do, good things will come to you.
- Don’t rush: I'll tell you, there is nothing better in life than being a late bloomer. I believe that success can happen at any time and at any age.
- Ignore those who doubt you: What is important is to believe in something so strongly that you're never discouraged.
- Keep perspective: Life is tough; and if you have the ability to laugh at it, you have the ability to enjoy it.